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De'Andre Pierce striving to carve out his own role on Raiders coaching staff

De'Andre Pierce, like the majority of America, watched in astonishment as the underdog New York Giants knocked off the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Looking on from the stands inside of then University of Phoenix Stadium, his father, Antonio, totaled 11 tackles in the 17-14 victory.

The game itself was a turning point in De'Andre's life and steered him onto a path he's been on since.

"The deafening of how loud it was in there was absolutely insane," De'Andre said. "That was a moment I'll never forget. It's so vivid in my brain."

The younger Pierce got heavily involved in the game of football – no surprise with a Super Bowl-winning dad. De'Andre became a three-star prospect under his father who was the head coach at Long Beach Poly High School. He committed to play at Boise State, where he was named All-Mountain West Honorable Mention his sophomore year and recorded 90 solo tackles in his career there.

In 2020, he made his way to Arizona State as a graduate transfer – where Antonio was working as the Sun Devils associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator. De'Andre became a leader in the secondary alongside Jack Jones, receiving an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention in 2021 and voted the Darren Woodson Outstanding Secondary Award winner.

Following his collegiate career, coaching was the natural next stop for him. His first job was as a defensive quality control coach at Cal Poly. As he was game planning for the Mustangs' upcoming game against Eastern Washington, he received word that the Las Vegas Raiders were making a change at head coach – and his father would be the guy.

"I'm getting off [work] and then I checked my phone and I'm like, 'Damn, is this real?'" De'Andre recalled. "I knew if it was real there was no way he could answer my phone call at the time because of everything I knew he would have to do. But just watching it play out, I'm not surprised. I saw this in high school, I saw this in college and even joining here now – it's just the type of person that he is. He's somebody that people want to follow and I think that's his biggest strength."

De'Andre joined the coaching staff this offseason as an offensive assistant, starting at the bottom of the totem pole.

"De'Andre has done a good job throughout his life of high school, playing college football, tried the pros, got into coaching," Antonio said. "The opportunity came up, you put him on the staff, you put him at the bottom of the list, make him do the simple things, the hard things, things he's not comfortable with."

As De'Andre is still finding himself within the world of coaching, the experience of working alongside his father as a player and now as a coach in the NFL has "absolutely been a dream." While the two retain a great father-son relationship at home, it's all business as soon as they step into the facility each day.

It's a dynamic that De'Andre wouldn't have any other way as he strives to separate himself from his father's shadow.

"As far as earning it, [let's] talk about the elephant in the room," he said. "I'm the head coach's son, I'm the youngest on staff, I've never been with the offense, but at the end of the day, with all of these coaches, no matter where we came from, we're all here right now. We all had this opportunity and I'm going to take it and run with it.

"I'm confident in who I am, and what I know, and what I can teach. And just try to carry that over day by day no matter who I'm working with or where I'm at. I just got to be me every day."

Take a look at the best photos from the Las Vegas Raiders 2024 Media Day.

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